UL GEMS Teddy Bear Hospital Aims to Reduce Children’s Anxiety

Teddy Bear Hospital

Teddy Bear Hospital (picture left to right) Callum O’Keeffe and Billy Chan from Milford National School at the Graduate Entry Medical School Teddy Bears Hospital at UL. Pictures: Sean Curtin, FusionShooters.

Teddy Bear Hospital

Teddy Bear Hospital. Picture: Sean Curtin, FusionShooters.

Medical School students at the University of Limerick hosted the University’s annual Teddy Bear Hospital with over 500 Limerick’s primary school children from 7 different schools and their teddy bears. The aim of the event, which has been organised by seven current Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) students with a particular interest in childhood medicine, is to alleviate childhood anxiety about the medical environment, its procedures and the professionals that work within it.

Over 150, 1st and 2nd year medical students took part in the event which saw the students act as ‘teddy bear doctors’ for the day. 10 medical stations were set up in the University Arena focusing on activities including: Triage; Stethoscopes; Vital Signs & Vaccine Safety; X-ray; Exercise; Surgery/Gowning; Asthma; Safety; First Aid, Ear Nose and Throat and Healthy Eating.

Speaking from the event UL GEMS student Ann Morris said “This is our fourth annual Teddy Bear Hospital at UL. Our main goal this year was to expand the number of primary schools we were able to invite to the event.  The idea of the event remains the same, primary school students bring their teddy bear which then plays the role of the patient for the day. This visit to the Teddy Bear Hospital provides the children with an opportunity to interact with and assist in a range of simulated healthcare settings, while also allowing them to learn about healthy habits, like the importance of eating well and exercise.”

Teddy Bear Hospital

Teddy Bear Hospital. Pictures Sean Curtin, FusionShooters.

The promotion of a healthy lifestyle and preventative medicine was at the forefront of this educational and fun event. The topics covered included the importance of regular exercise, thorough hand-washing techniques and a healthy diet. It is also hoped that this initiative will strengthen the relationship of UL GEMS and its students and the surrounding community.

Speaking about the UL Teddy Bear Hospital UL President, Professor Don Barry said “The Teddy Bear Hospital is in its fourth year running at UL and so far has proved to be a magical opportunity for Limerick’s primary school children and a valuable learning experience for all. Each year it gets bigger and better with more and more schools applying to attend. The messages that these primary school children will take from the clinic, creates an affirmative and substantial link between the university, its students and healthcare provision and is an extremely valuable programme.”

The Teddy Bear Hospital at the University of Limerick is the first of its kind for the Limerick region. This initiative in Limerick was run by seven current, UL GEMS students: Ann Morris, Giulia Martone, Julia Healy, Caity Patterson, Saskia D’Sa, Amy Hannigan and Kristin Delcellier.

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